As we begin to see the onslaught of "All Michael, All The Time" programming, a few quickly-written thoughts before running out the door to get my cholesterol checked. (Following that, the rest of the morning will be spent eating all the things I avoided before the test so no one at the lab would know.)
Vacation Progress Report
Pretty productive week so far. A couple of things from the "do these or see your life as worthless" list mentioned in the previous post had to be put off, but for valid reasons. (I misplaced the charger for the tool I need to work on the magic case and am waiting for the new one I ordered, and yesterday was my sons' birthday and my wife, as is her custom every year, made them each their choice of yummy cake, so making the cupcakes as I'd first intended would have has us sitting here with more cake than any civilized family of four should ever have.) Other projects, of course, take their place seamlessly. Got some bank business tended to, survived both a colonoscopy and a dentist visit, finished what I hope is the final draft of the article I'd mentioned previously, got some weeds pulled, even put a converter box on the old black and white tv here in my office. (Be warned: if you're putting a converter box on an old tv, there's about $18 worth of parts you'll need in addition to the converter box itself. The upside is, it's so easy even I was able to figure it out.) It's been so productive one of the only things I haven't gotten around to doing this week is having a vacation. But it is on the list.
Not Meant to Seem Cynical, Just Honest
I'm haven't been what you'd consider a fan of either Farrah Fawcett or Michael Jackson over the years, but it seems impossible not to offer at least some brief thoughts on their passings yesterday.
For all she accomplished as a real actress - and she accomplished much - anyone who was aware of their surroundings in 1976 undoubtedly still remembers the famous Farrah swimsuit poster. Putting the show business stuff aside and seeing a human element in all of this, that moment-frozen-in-time image of a bright, attractive woman with a great smile makes her death, and the time-passes-and-we're all-mortal reminders that go with it, all the more poignant. By now it's probably fair to say everyone's life has been touched by cancer, and in that context Farrah impressed me greatly these past months. That thought would be incomplete without also mentioning Ryan O'neal, to whom I hadn't given a lot of thought before, and what a mensch he's been through the whole difficult process. I don't expect this to matter, except in some small cosmic way and probably not even that, but they both have my respect.
When I heard the first reports saying Michael Jackson had died, it was impossible for me not to think about the reports of Andy Kaufman's passing some years back. Hoping this doesn't read like a crude and inappropriate joke, because it is the absolute truth, Andy Kaufman was dead for two weeks before I believed it. If you remember the man's aggressively creative comic genius, you'll also remember it would not have been entirely out of character for him to release a story like that as an elaborate prank, a grand media nose-tweak.
In Michael Jackson's case, I was skeptical at first but within a few hours the reports did convince me. It goes without saying, of course, that the sudden death of a 50 year old guy, any 50 year old guy, is sad and a bit disturbing. And as a creative artist, Jackson really was amazing - it's not supposed to be possible for a human being to move like that. It's hard not let the personal wierdnesses - and that's the kindest way I can say it - cloud the view, especially since these were choices he made himself. I've heard moving, eloquent statements from members of his family, musicians he worked with, friends, etc. (I've been tuning in and out of the news, so I seem to have missed any endearing memories poured out by the kids and parents involved in the pedophilia accusations, including the one he settled out of court with. You would have thought that a $22 million settlement would have at least gotten the child to say something lovely now. People are just so ungrateful.)
As we prepare to endure several weeks of repetition of the same clips, stories, quotes, reports and, of course, rememberances (first from those who knew him, from those familiar with those who knew him, then - in the third and (hopefully) final wave, from those who went to nursery school with someone related to someone who knew him), I offer the following encouragement: it eventually settled down with Elvis, and it will eventually settle down with St. Michael.